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Xtravagant by Name, Nature & Pedigree

27 Nov 2015

Xtravagant by Name, Nature & Pedigree

The Informant’s John Richardson reports:

Not since the heady days of Ocean Park and Silent Achiever, who both boasted exceptionally well-constructed pedigrees, have we seen two such outstanding racehorses that also have pedigrees to enthuse over.

I refer, of course, to the New Zealand-backgrounded Cox Plate heroine Winx and now the Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas victor XTRAVAGANT.

It is not often that we see a horse win with such consummate ease. The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained colt led throughout and was never off the bridle. Ridden with supreme confidence by Matthew Cameron, he scored by eight and a half lengths in race-record time. He was three-quarters of a second off 10-time Group One winner Mufhasa’s track record, but if he had come under any pressure that mark may have been under threat too.

The manner of Xtravagant’s dominance was reminiscent of Might and Power. He is clearly a very good horse and made the rest look very ordinary. Perhaps they are – time will tell.

In my preview I noted that Xtravagant alone in the Guineas had classic looks.  Handsome is as handsome does.

The attractive and expensive colt was brought along quietly at the trials before having his sole juvenile start over 1400 metres in April. Although very green, his seven-length victory gave a glimpse of what was to come.

He came back in September in the competitive Listed Northland Breeders’ Stakes, but was hanging so badly that he only beat one home. He ran again over 1200 metres at Te Rapa and mounted a decent run from the back, only to be mown down by Let Her Rip to end up third.

Next it was off to Trentham for the Guineas Trial, where he showed that he was gradually learning, settling in second or third place until taking it up with 350 to go and powering clear for a facile victory.

On the strength of this he was made favourite for the Guineas, a position he held until the day of the race itself. His connections realised that they had a decent horse on their hands, but seemed to be caught napping by how good he proved at Riccarton.

A full-brother to Mapperley sire He’s Remarkable, Xtravagant is by Pentire (Be My Guest), the winner of the Gr. 1 Ascot King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Gr. 1 Irish Champion Stakes. He is one of the highest-rated sires to grace these shores with a Timeform rating of 132.

Never having quite the numbers or quality of mares he deserved, Pentire has nevertheless sired 44 stakes winners, of which a remarkable 14 have won at Group One level including Mufhasa (twice New Zealand Horse of the Year, 10 Group One wins), Xcellent (dual Horse of the Year, four Group Ones), Zarita (South Australian  Derby, Schweppes Oaks), Rangirangdoo (Doncaster Handicap, George Ryder Stakes), Pantani (South Australian Derby, Adelaide Cup), Say No More (Thorndon Mile, New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes), Art Success (Brisbane Cup), Recurring (Railway Handicap), Pentane (Auckland Cup), Prince of Penzance (Melbourne Cup), Ferlax (Australian Guineas), Markus Maximus (Western Australian Derby) and Penny Gem (Captain Cook Stakes).

Xtravagant’s brother He’s Remarkable won a Group One in Perth but was controversially relegated, and he was second to Jimmy Choux in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas.

Xtravagant’s dam sire is the mighty Zabeel (156 stakes winners), the sire of 43 elite winners including Might and Power, Octagonal, Savabeel and Vengeance of Rain. He is proving even more successful as a broodmare sire, having already topped that sire list three times in Australia and twice in New Zealand.

The sire of Xtravagant’s granddam is another champion sire Centaine, who won the Dewar Trophy for Australasian earnings and who has been champion broodmare sire five times.

Next along the bottom sireline is the Riverman horse Sir Godfrey (a brother to Arc winner Gold River), who was the Chittick family’s first stallion when they were at Masterton. It would be fair to say that he was not a roaring success for the subsequent owners of Waikato Stud, but he did leave six stakes winners. His daughters were much better, including the Slight Chance, All In Fun, Arletty and Miss Opera.

The female line is the number two family from the imported British mare Teppo, a granddaughter of Carbine, and comes to us from the foundation mare Mit Muzzle. The latter’s daughter Kinca (Kincardine) is Xtravagant’s sixth dam, and among her three winners is the Hawke’s Bay Guineas winner Voiron.

Her daughter Napoli, fifth dam of our classic winner, won six races and left four winners, plus the unraced Sun Priestess, by Sabaean (Blue Peter from a half-sister to Hyperion). Sun Priestess also collected six wins up to a mile including the Warstep Stakes. Her four winners included stakes performer Dark Isa, who became dam of Fill the Bill (Gr. 2 Tulloch Stakes), Group One-placed Eminency, Group-placed Vlonka and stakes-placed Samara. Dark Isa became ancestress of Matost (Karaka Classic), whilst Vlonka is similarly related to Adelaide Guineas winner Magic Boy. Dark Isa’s sister Sun Worship left the Gr. 3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes victress and Gr. 1 South Australian Oaks placegetter Star Worship, who later became the granddam of Wellesley Stakes winner Big River.

It was the unraced daughter Riverlette who was to make the most impact with all eight of her named foals winners, all but the first by Centaine. The first foal Fifteen Reasons (by Sound Reason) visited Centaine though, leaving Sixty Seconds (Gr. 1 Arrowfield Stud Stakes, Gr. 2 Championship Stakes, Gr. 3 Saratoga Glen Falls Handicap) and Spottswoode (Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic).

Riverlette had two stakes winners and two stakes placegetters. Firetaine had eight wins including the Gr. 3 Carlton Draught Stakes, Spillway had six wins and was second in the Gr. 3 Craven Plate, and River Century won twice and was third in the Gr. 3 Reginald Allen Handicap.

River Century became 2007 New Zealand broodmare of the year, being dam of Guyno (Gr. 1 WATC Derby, Gr. 2 Perth Cup) and Legs (Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks, Gr. 1 Kelt Capital Stakes).

Legs has already left stakes winner Wolfwhistle, and I expect to be writing about Gr. 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas runner-up Scrutinize come Derby time.

Riverlette’s other stakes winner was Xtravagant’s granddam Arletty (eight wins including Gr. 2 Villiers Stakes, Gr. 2 Queen of the Turf Stakes, Gr. 3 Royal Stakes, Gr. 3 Ladies’ Mile).

The best of her eight winners from nine runners was the Group-placed Maythehorsebemagic, who went on to be a top jumper. But her daughters excelled at stud, with World Exclusive being dam of current Victorian stakes winner Exclusive Lass, and non-winner Lucky Mascot the dam of stakes winner Koala Bear.

Arletty’s unraced Zabeel daughter Axiom has four foals to race, all winners including top-class He’s Remarkable and Xtravagant. Another brother Xavi had three wins and half-brother Fashion Black (Bertolini) had five wins in Melbourne.

And so to the exceptional pedigree chart. His sire Pentire is 2 x 2 Northern Dancer / Mill Reef (Never Bend out of a Princequillo mare).

On the distaff side Axiom is by Zabeel, who is nicked 2 x 3 Sir Ivor / Northern Dancer, and is herself a cross between Northern Dancer and Riverman (by Never Bend out of a mare by a son of Princequillo).

This creates sex balance between the two close relatives Mill Reef and Riverman, both high-class racehorses and sires.

There is an equally strong bench of sex-balanced line-breeding in Xtravagant to Nearco (11 lines), his son Nasrullah (6) and nickmate Princequillo (30, Mahmoud (3), the 1939 English Derby and Guineas winner Blue Peter, Selene (13 lines), Pharos (14), Hyperion (9) and Blenheim (10).

It is, in many respects, a real old-fashioned classic pedigree. He possesses such brilliance that one wonders if it can be contained. His pedigree is a pure staying one with only a small amount of sprinting blood in Centaine’s bottom line. He has never looked like weakening in any of his races and was the last to pull up at Riccarton. It does seem as if a big track suits him well and he acts on any surface.

It is stated that he aims for the Australian Guineas next – we can’t wait! I feel sure he will stay a lot better than his brothers.

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